As those in my age bracket chat about later life’s challenges, we often veer into the topic of extreme old age. What I observe here, in the Sechelt area, is a very real anxiety about that terminal stage of life.
A major reason for this is a lack of care facilities and the looming reality that it’s only going to get worse. Vancouver Coastal Health will sooner or later replace the beds in Shorncliffe and Totem with an almost equal number of privatized beds at Trellis. And those of us who pay attention to the news and research know that “privatized” means for profit above all, potential earlier death, fewer staff, budget food and no cherished visits from volunteers.
The last concern is actually not trivial. Volunteers currently sing, curl hair, bring in pets, read and generally make residents feel part of a larger community. This cannot take place in a privatized facility.
Our numbers are growing and the planned number of beds is not. Our elected municipal leaders are so keen to encourage business interests in this town that they fail to question the downsides of privatized care for their citizens. (And what about sewer capacity, by the way?)
So, yes, we need a new facility, but throwing older folks under the bus of privatized care? That’s not something we can accept. Many of us have spent our adult lives in service to others. We deserve more!
Gail Riddell, Sechelt